Parrot Disco fixed-wing drone first look

At CES 2016 in Las Vegas, Parrot announced its latest drone, the Parrot Disco, although this drone is slightly different to the rest of the Parrot drone lineup. The Parrot Disco is the company's first fixed-wing drone and is driven by a single properller at the rear of the drone, instead of using four like a standard drone. We went along and took a look at the Parrot Disco at the Parrot booth at CES, and here's what we found. Read next: Best drones being released in 2016

Parrot Disco first look: Design and build

The Parrot Disco is Parrot’s first winged drone, and looks to provide something slightly different to the standard quadrocopter experience. Though the drone is a lot bigger than we expected it to be, it’s light enough to be carried with one hand, and the wings are also detachable to make it a bit easier to transport. Visually, the Disco is mainly black with white accents across the wings and body, and is available in only one colour.

Instead of using multiple propellers like standard quadrocopters, the Disco features a single 8in propeller situated at the back of the drone, and is powered by a high-speed engine. The combinations of a lightweight body, large wings and a powerful propeller allows the drone to glide through the air with very little resistance from the wind, and provides users with incredible smooth video.

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Parrot Disco first look: Features and spec

So, what makes the Parrot Disco so special? First things first, it boasts automatic takeoff and landing. Now while this doesn’t mean you can leave it on the floor and it’ll take off, you simply need to throw the Disco in the air and it’ll automatically correct itself and take flight. We even saw a video where the Disco was thrown up vertically, and it still corrected itself. Pretty impressive stuff. It also features ground sensors for safe landings, due to the fact that the Disco has to land like a plane (although it doesn’t feature wheels!). It also features a ‘return home’ mode that’ll return the drone to where it took off from, thanks to its built-in GPS.

The Disco is controlled in the exact same way as other Parrot drones – via an app, available for iOS, Android and Windows and relies upon Wi-Fi to communicate with the drone. There’s also an in-app purchase available called Flight Plan that’ll let you plot a specific route for the Disco to take, ideal for videographers that want to capture shots of a specific area. Even without the Flight Plan IAP, it’s fairly easy to control the drone – anybody that has used a Parrot drone in the past understands just how intuitive its controls are.

While on the subject of flight, the Parrot Disco boasts an incredible 45 minutes of flight time at 50mph, thanks to its on-board 2700mAh battery. This provides users with more time to play with their drones, as many consumer drones last around 15-25 minutes per charge. The Disco also features a nose-mounted 1080p HD camera that’ll allow you to capture photos and videos, with a live feed sent to your smartphone/tablet, and a special ‘loiter’ mode will program the drone to orbit a specific area. While we weren’t necessarily blown away with the quality of the video captured, it’s a good option for budding videographers and drone enthusiasts alike.

Those that want something a little extra can buy the Skycontroller, which provides physical controls for the drone (opposed to touchscreen controls) and provides a higher level of control. It also extends the range of the Wi-Fi signal, allowing you to control the drone over larger distances. If you do decide to buy a Skycontroller, you can go one step further and purchase an FPV headset for a first-person view of the drone’s camera, which is both incredibly fun because you feel like you’re a bird, and also provides videographers with a unique way to capture video.

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Parrot Disco first look: Pricing and availability

So, when will you be able to get your hands on the Parrot Disco, Parrot’s first winged drone? While Parrot has confirmed that the drone will be available to purchase this year, it hasn’t yet announced a timeframe or pricing. Make sure you check back periodically, as we’ll update this article with more information as we receive it.

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Parrot Disco: Specs

  • Fixed wing drone
  • 8in propeller
  • Lightweight design
  • Removable wings for easier transport
  • Max speed 50mph
  • 45 minutes of flight on a single charge
  • 2700mAh battery
  • Controlled via iOS/Android/Windows devices
  • Automatic take-off and landing
  • Can plan flights via Flight Plan in-app purchase
  • Fixed wing drone
  • 8in propeller
  • Lightweight design
  • Removable wings for easier transport
  • Max speed 50mph
  • 45 minutes of flight on a single charge
  • 2700mAh battery
  • Controlled via iOS/Android/Windows devices
  • Automatic take-off and landing
  • Can plan flights via Flight Plan in-app purchase

OUR VERDICT

The Parrot Disco looks to be a promising drone for both videographers and drone enthusiasts, with its large wings and 8in propeller providing fairly smooth flight. It's lightweight and features a number of sensors that Parrot claims makes it incredibly easy to fly, although we can't comment as we couldn't fly it at the show. We'll update this article with a more in-depth verdict once we've got a Parrot Disco back to the PC Advisor Towers!

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